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The Millennium Jazz Orchestra, which until last year was the Big Barchem Band, proves on its third recording (and second for A–Records) that a world–class ensemble by any other name swings as lustily and as often, thanks to bracing charts by conductor Joan Reinders, a welcome appearance on five selections by guest artist Philip Catherine, and remarkable interplay by the orchestra as a whole. Catherine, the superb Belgian guitarist who’d impressed the band at a concert in October ’99, is featured on Reinders’ curtain–raising three–movement suite, “Triangular,” whose common thread, according to its author, is “an intervallic relationship of a minor second and a major third.” Sounds good to me — and probably will to you as well, which is what really matters. Catherine, whose mostly single–note lines are invariably clean and tasteful, sounds as good on two of his own masterful compositions, “Arthur Rainbow” and “Merci Afrique,” while the orchestra cuts loose on five durable standards including one each by Cole Porter (“It’s All Right with Me”) and the Gershwins (“Soon”). Flugel Jan Wessels (definitely someone to keep an eye on) is featured on “Soon,” trombonist Jeroen Rol on “Alone Together,” pianist Rob Horsting on the ballad “When I Fall in Love,” vocalist Herman Nijkamp on “Crazy Moon.” Wessels (trumpet), tenor Gerlo Hesselink and drummer Martijn Vick are the soloists on “It’s All Right with Me,” and Hesselink (soprano) has more blowing room with Catherine on “Arthur Rainbow.” While the soloists are brash and resourceful, the orchestra is even more so, investing in each of Reinders’ charts a full meaure of dexterity and enthusiasm. In Deventer, Holland, at least, this Millennium clearly has made a spectacular beginning.
Contact:Challenge Record Services, P. O. Box 540, 6800 AM Arnhem, The Netherlands (www.challenge.nl).
Track Listing: Triangular (Part 1: Coming and Going; Part 2: Calmness; Part 3: Mimery); It
Personnel: Joan Reinders, conductor, composer, arranger; Willy van Diepen, alto, soprano sax, flute; Gerard Grobben, alto, soprano sax, clarinet; Gerlo Hesselink, tenor, soprano sax; flute, clarinet; Martin van der Horst, tenor sax, clarinet; Job Helmers, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Rini Swinkels, Geert Sprick, Jan Wessels, Erik Hilferink, Herman Nijkamp, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jeroen Rol, Henri Gerrits, Gert Nijenbanning, trombone; Eric Westerink, bass trombone; Rob Horsting, piano, keyboards; Bart Tarenskeen, bass; Martijn Vink, drums. Special guest